Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cloth Diapers

When I was pregnant with Kai, I decided it would be a good idea to attempt cloth diapers. After hours and hours of research, both online and through conversation with other moms, I finally arrived at a conclusion: Soft Bums!  But before, I put in my plug for Soft Bums, let me first put in my plug for Why Cloth Diapers?!

* You'll save a couple thousand dollars over the course of your child's first couple years of life
(increased water cost accounted for & depending on when you potty train)
* They cause less rashes & irritation than disposable
* Less of an impact on the environment (you'll find both sides of this argument, but in general, cloth decomposes better than disposable)
* More incentive for YOU to potty train sooner (see blog on Elimination Communication). Who wants to be rinsing poopy cloth diapers when their kid is old enough to walk?
* According to my husband - 'social capital - other people are impressed by you' (sure, why not?)

After I explain why I chose Soft Bums, I'll also give you a couple personal tips on making cloth diaper use pretty painless.

Couple terms useful for reading this blog entry:
* Shell: outside piece of the cloth diaper assembly
* Insert: cloth placed inside the shell that absorbs whatever needs to be (hopefully!)
* Pocket: actual pocket on some shells where inserts can be placed (disadvantage - you have to wash the shell after each use)
* Snap-in Insert: insert lays on top of the shell, which ideally allows for the shell to be re-used multiple times before washing
* Pre-fold diapers: what you think of when you think 'cloth diaper' - what our mom's used

Here are my reasons for choosing Soft Bums over other brands such as Bum Genius or G Diaper (though many mom's I know love both of these):

* Soft Bums are incredibly similar to disposable diapers & therefore are incredibly easy to use both for you and for any baby-sitters, grandparents, or hubbies. Specifically, they velcro rather than snap.

* Soft Bums shells fit a wide range of weights (5-40lbs) so you don't have to buy various sizes of shells as your baby grows.

* Soft Bums Omni acts either as pocket shell or a snap-in, so you can choose which method works best for you.

* Soft Bums last, I've had the same 6 shells & 18 inserts for my son for over a year and they are all in good shape. You can also use any fabric for additional absorption including but not limited to pre-fold diapers.

While I highly, highly recommend Soft Bums, I would encourage you to do your own research knowing each mom has their own criteria and expectations.

As a conclusion, a couple tips for making cloth diaper use easy:
1. Don't start with cloth diapers from day 1, especially on your first baby. Give yourself a chance to adjust to your new baby. Plus, those first few baby poo's are yucky! and I would not want to clean it off a cloth diaper! Ease into it - try a couple during the day at first, then gradually shift to using them around the clock. Also, ease into using them in public.
2. Don't be afraid to use disposable. Disposable diapers are especially useful when the baby is first born, when you're traveling, if your baby is sick (intestinal illness especially), or if your baby has predictable and terrible bowel movements.
3. Have a soaking bucket. We bought a plastic trash can with a latchable lid for dirty cloth diaper shells & inserts. We fill it up with clean water & baby friendly detergent (Dreft or Method are our preferred detergents) and then just toss in dirty shells & inserts until it's time to wash a load of diapers. We have a top load washer so we just dump the entire contents of the bucket into the washer, put it on spin and then add detergent after the water has been wrung out of the diapers.
4. Get a wet bag. These completely sealable, plastic-lined cloth bags are perfect for containing the sight, smell, and extras of dirty cloth diapers when you're out and about or on short trips. Good ones are 100% machine washable so they can just go in with the diapers.
5. A word on poo: you will have to touch it if you do cloth diapers. Some moms use gloves & special buckets, others of us just wash our toilet often and do a rinse in the bowl - flush! If you're squeamish, you may want to ease into the cloth diaper arena even more slowly.

Hopefully all of this information helps as you make the decision to cloth or not :)

Enjoy the journey and let me know if I can help in anyway!

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